The Project Heads Speak: Matt Wedel

In the final installment of our three part interview series, Matt Wedel shares his thoughts about the Open Dinosaur Project. See part 1 and part 2 for interviews with Andy and Mike.

Matt with another sauropod vertebra

[It] seems (it may be totally wrong) that the project might be more appealing for those who are not professional paleontologists (as you mentioned on the blog, “high school students, school teachers, plumbers“). Why would a experienced researcher be interested in contributing to it?

For some experienced researchers, the project might offer an opportunity to do something new and different. That’s the case for two of the three project leaders (Mike Taylor and Matt Wedel), both of whom typically work on sauropod dinosaurs. The project might also appeal to junior faculty members who are working on building their CVs, and hopefully it will appeal to workers at every career stage who are interested in making science more open (and making more open science). We also hope that some people who have large collections of otherwise unpublished measurements would be interested in contributing, to make their data more available and to boost the project. Of course we realize that the project will not appeal to everyone, and that does not necessarily mean that anything is wrong with either the project or the people who decide not to participate. It’s a big world and there are only so many things that one can meaningfully pursue. We’re not trying to coerce or cajole people into participating. We just want to make the opportunity to contribute open to everyone, and we will be grateful to everyone who chooses to participate. The response already has been very gratifying, and confirms our suspicion that the pool of people who are interested in doing science is not limited to those who hold advanced degrees or are employed as scientists.

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